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Stephen’s position, choosing, instead, to await the development of events.


8:3 Saul…was trying to destroy the church…like Stephen,


Saul was able to perceive that the Christian movement contained the seeds of doctrinal divergence from Judaism. A pupil of Gamaliel, according to 22, 3, and totally dedicated to the law as the way of salvation (Gal 1: 13-14), Saul accepted the task of crushing the Christian movement, at least insofar as it detracted from the importance of the temple and the law. His vehement opposition to Christianity reveals how difficult it was for a Jew of his time to accept a messianism that differed so greatly from the general expectation.


Acts 8: 1-8


1 Now Saul was consenting to his execution. On that day, there broke out a severe persecution of the church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. 3 Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the church; entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment. 4 Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Thus Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. 6 With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured. 8 There was great joy in that city.


REFLELCTION:


The preaching about the Good News began in Jerusalem. As the Christians moved because of persecution, they spread the Word wherever they went. Philip went to Samaria. Without fear, he brought the Gospel message to the people. Those who were outcasts received the word of God. Philip preached with power and authority given to him by Christ. The miracles Philip performed were signs that Jesus had power over sin, sickness, and evil spirits. God worked through Philip. The Samaritans felt joy when Philip preached. Deep spiritual joy comes with faith in Jesus Christ.


It is a sign of his presence.


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